Alisha Sedor is the executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice South Dakota.
I’ve never had an abortion (which isn’t to say that I haven’t had a pregnancy scare or two in my day). Some might then question why I am so passionate about the issue, so deeply involved in choice and the women’s rights movement. For me, it is because I have never had an abortion that feel so strongly. It is not my place, nor a legislator’s nor governor’s nor anyone else’s, to make that decision for another woman. I could not possibly understand the often complicated and long list of factors that go into deciding whether to carry a pregnancy to term.
I also believe choice is about more than just abortion. Choice means healthy birthing options, real support for women who want to carry their pregnancies to term, access to birth control, comprehensive sex education, being able to love (and marry) whoever you want, accurate information about and accessible prevention and treatment for STIs, not being judged for who you are or what you wear, not having chemicals that interfere with our reproductive systems in our food and products, providing access to education for physicians and nurses and midwives and other health professionals who want to work on reproductive health… Choice, for me, is much bigger than even the work I do every day.
Choice is about honoring the work of our mothers and grandmothers while understanding that the world has changed, that our work looks different in 2013 than it did in 1973, and that the movement has to look for new ways to engage individuals in the fight to protect the rights we already have. I believe in justice and equality, and that access to comprehensive reproductive healthcare is essential to ensuring those values.
Choice is compassion and empathy and understanding. It’s realizing that there is no way we can know another’s story, and no reason we should feel so entitled as to believe we know what’s best for them. Choice is a human right. Choice is liberty, and justice, for all.